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    The Graham FFA Ag Issues team spoke to the Commissioners Court about the pros and cons of hemp production on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The team also presented to the Graham ISD school board on Wednesday, Nov. 13. (Leader photo by Nathan Lawson)

The pros and cons of hemp productions

FFA Ag Issues team presents to elected officials

Coming off a district championship, the Graham FFA Agriculture Issues team presented their program to the Young County Commissioners Court Tuesday, Nov.12, and Graham ISD school board Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The team of Yanelie and Nayeli Ramirez, Travis Anderle, Cade Anderson, Mason Reese and Luke and Leah Holland presented the pros and cons of hemp production.

“Part of the way these students are evaluated is by presenting to elected officials (or) as many elected officials, groups or stakeholders that have an interest in their topic,” FFA Advisor Jacob Lange said to the commissioners court.

According to the team, hemp is a form of cannabis with 0.2% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and is harvested for industrial use of its products. They said some speculate hemp was the first crop cultivated by mankind.

“With capabilities to produce crucial resources such as food, rope, clothing, paper and housing materials, hemp has been the catalyst for man’s earliest innovations,” Yanelie Ramirez said.

Nayeli Ramirez said the Texas Legislator legalized the production of hemp in 2018.

Luke Holland and Anderle said the first pro to hemp production is it has a chance to become a cash crop.

“Farmers growing hemp on as little on hectare, which is two and half acres as we commonly reference, are making up to $1,500,” Luke Holland said.

They added there should be an increase for CBD oils as over 10,000 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada are planning to sell CBD products.

Anderson and Reese argued hemp production was more likely to be a cash crater as input productions to grow the plant are much higher than traditional crops. They said hemp should not be rotated into a field which recently used to grow corn, oil seeds, wheat or rye because they are known vectors for disease.

The second point Holland and Anderle said farmers can reduce chemical usage as there are no legal herbicides or pesticides for hemp. While the opposition said there is no industrial research for farmers in Texas and it will be a trial and error when selecting varieties of cannabis.

“This will be costly to our grower and set many behind for years,” Reese said.

Anderson added there are many pests which can damage the crops with no pesticides able for usage. Reese added there is no subsidizes in place and experts adding it could be years before crop insurance is available.

The Ag Issues team and six other Graham FFA teams will participate the FFA area contest on Monday, Nov. 25, in Mineral Wells.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Nov. 20 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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